FEBRUARY WILL see the launch of a major project to restore Thoor Ballylee and create a world class culture/education centre in time for the 150th anniversary of the birth of WB Yeats in June.
The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society will launch the project on Friday February 6 in the Lady Gregory Hotel, Gort, at 8pm. A fundraising objective of €1 million has been set for the project.
Sen Fidelma Healy-Eames, the chair of the YTBS believes the proposed centre could become “a huge attraction for the area”, in turn boosting tourism revenues for the south Galway region.
The Minister of State for Tourism Michael Ring granted a licence which allows the group to start fundraising to secure the money needed to re-open the tower and the committee is actively promoting the project among local, national, and international business and philanthropic bodies to achieve the €1 million needed.
Sen Healy-Eames said the funds will be used to develop and market the centre and meet essential capital and running costs. The tower will accommodate a new exhibition, a café, bookshop, and space for exhibitions, lectures, and classes. The surrounding gardens and trail to the old mill will also be developed.
The 15th/16th century Norman fort is intimately associated with WB Yeats who owned and lived in the tower with his family between 1921 and 1929. It was also during this period that he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.